|Portrayed by||Priyanka Chopra|
|Occupation||Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah|
|Affiliation||The Grey Tower|
|Spouse||Belenus Alhandra (deceased)|
|Significant other||Chandra Jain (deceased)|
|Affinities||Water/Spirit, Air, Fire, Earth|
Andraste is the fourth child, but the first daughter, for her parents. She was a woman born to a strong mother, who had been born to a strong mother before her. With that lineage and four brothers ahead of it, it would come as no surprise when she grew up willful, independent, and tough; if sometimes, a little prideful.
Her parents were not nobles, but they were well-to-do in the merchant circles and well-thought of in the guilds. They had a solid trade in gems and jewelry, as Kandor is sometimes known for, but also in passing rare antiquities or oddities. If a customer wished something found, they tried to find it. If they saw something different and interesting, they purchased it and would find a buy for it. They were good at what they did, and they passed it along to their children. So again, it was no surprise at all that Andraste inherited it.
As a child, she was rambunctious. As a teenager, she was strong-willed. As an adult, she has been focused and determined. She is a woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. It may sometimes take her a little time to know for sure what that is, but once she has decided, it takes strong motivation--maybe even an act of the Creator himself--to steer her onto another path.
Her mother--the source of much of this--once described her as a girl that you would not want to stand in front of, regardless of whether she's right or wrong. Her father--who was more amused by her than anything, and perhaps a bit of an enabler--describes her as a woman you should want to stand behind or beside.
Physically, she grew up lovely. That didn't hurt her youth or help her prideful side. She's not large in height or voluptuous in body, but she tries to make up for both with presence. Her eyes and hair are dark, complements to her deeply tanned skin. Her tapering nose draws attention up to her gently slanted eyes and down to her full lips, all framed before gently waving dark hair.
"Andraste, I have a bad feeling about this one," Belenus said as their wagon rode along the well-trodden, wide dirt track. The fine, thick dark grey four-horse team plodded along as it knew how best to do.
Belenus Alhandra was a relatively handsome young man of about twenty-seven winters. With thick dark hair that he kept short and brushed back from his face, his dark eyes stood out from his tanned face. She loved looking at his face, particularly as she sat beside him on the seat of their wagon. It had been her favorite place to sit for six years now, since they had married and set out together to continue their trading business.
"You have a bad feeling much of the time," Andraste said, almost breezily. He was certainly the more serious of the pair, but they complemented each other like that. "I think you're just over-protective."
"You think that much of the time," he returned, bouncing her own sentiment right back to her with a smile that warmed her to her toes.
The road rolled along as it carried them from Kandor to the summer house of a minor noble, situated on the border of Andor and Murandy. Of course, from what she knew of the southern nations, she had been surprised that anyone would "summer" there...but then again, she lived most of her time on the road. Everything, and everyone, that mattered most to her came along for the ride, so how much time did she really spend thinking on this?
This appointment had been arranged while the little caravan was in another town in Andor, marketing their wares. A tall man, quite intimidating if Andraste were to be honest, spotted one of their pieces. He said he needed to speak to his 'wife,' although there was something odd about the way he said it, before purchasing.
They had arranged to travel to meet them, since it was roughly on the route they had already been planning on traveling anyway.
However, since making that arrangement, Belenus had been uneasy. She assumed it was the intimidating nature of the man. Her beloved husband was not the largest of men and this one towered over him, imposing his presence effortlessly.
He would never admit it, of course.
It wasn't long before they stopped at a roadside clearing, frequently used by wagons such as theirs for breaks such as this. Once the horses had come to a stop, Belenus hopped down to take off their harnesses. As the orange and pink of the setting sun was glinting through the trees, they determined to camp there for the night. He saw to the horses while she knocked on the wooden frame to the window into the back of the wagon where they'd sleep.
After a few moments, a head poked through the blue brocade curtain. Her dark curls were disheveled and spilled over her face as dark eyes squinted at Andraste. She pulled herself through the space and onto the seat that Belenus had just vacated, rubbing her hand through her hair and making it messier than it already was. That made Andraste smile.
"Why did you let me sleep so long?" Chandra asked, leaning slightly against the other woman.
"You were so tired this morning," Andraste said, putting her arm around her and kissing her head. "You were tossing and turning all night, like you were having bad dreams or something. I tried to wake you up, but you didn't really wake."
Belenus had finished tethering the horses and came to stand at the newly cleared wagon front. It was tall beside him standing, but he was able to reach up and pat Chandra's knee. "She's right, you know. You were a fitful sleeper last night."
Theirs was not a relationship that everyone would understand, but Andraste loved her life and wouldn't trade it for anything. The day she asked Belenus to marry her--as was custom in Kandor--was the happiest day of her life, and the day she (with Belenus' blessing) had invited Chandra into a commitment had been the next happiest.
Chandra knit her brows, making that little wrinkle between the dark lines that made Andraste reach out and smooth it. Chandra playfully swatted her hand away. "I just dreamed a lot, but I don't remember what about now."
They didn't speak anymore about the subject, and Chandra slid back through the window. She emerged the other side of the wagon with the cooking tools and began setting up to make their meal. She was by far the better cook and so Andraste never complained about letting her handle the task.
For her part, Andraste was a natural merchant. She could manage a negotiation better than either Belenus or Chandra, or many people that they knew, to be honest. She tried to not be conceited, but she didn't want to be falsely modest either. She knew where her skills laid and she had an almost preternatural talent for buying and selling.
"Belenus has a bad feeling about the appointment we're heading to," Andraste said as they sat around the fire he had made and Chandra worked on cooking their meal. Andraste enjoyed the smells as they wafted up, amazed at what she could do with road rations.
"He always has a bad feeling," Chandra said with a fond smile. Her coloring and age were similar to Andraste, but where Andraste was earthy and warm, Chandra airy and light.
"See?" Andraste said.
Belenus laughed and held up his hands. "I concede," he said. "It is not possible in the face of such a consensus against me."
The women shared a smile he claimed was a private one he only saw the result, never the workings, of. Chandra finished cooking, and the three shared their meal and their companionable conversation.
As full dark descended, Belenus checked on the horses one more time and they all went to bed. The wagon didn't make for the most luxurious of fits, but none being very large, it worked. Andraste took up the middle and snuggled in between her two favorite people in the world.
By the afternoon of the next day, they had arrived at the large manor house where they would meet the man and his wife.
Andraste made herself as presentable as possible, then was joined by her husband and lover as they were escorted into an ostentatious greeting room with a table just big enough for the group of them. They sat down and sipped water from glasses already on the table.
Soon they were joined by the large man they had seen in the market and a woman. Her eyes were cold, and reminded Andraste of a predator. She couldn't say which one, but they unnerved her, and suddenly she began to feel Belenus' bad feeling. By the way she sensed him shifting uncomfortably in the chair beside her, without looking at him, she knew that he felt the same.
"My...husband says you have an item of interest to me," the woman said as she lowered herself into a chair across from them. Andraste noticed that the large man did not sit down. He positioned himself behind the woman with his thick arms crossed over his chest. There was nothing warm about him either, and she began to wonder if they should leave.
"So he said," Andraste replied, trying to summon her usual confidence, but she was deeply shaken just by the presence of these two. Before she could speak further, they were joined by another man. He was smaller than the first, but no less imposing. He also didn't sit down. Andraste's dark eyes flickered between the two and her heart sank into her stomach.
What was going on here?
"May I see it?" the woman asked. There was a faint curve of a smile to her lips. Perhaps she was trying to put them at ease? It didn't look like that to the merchant woman, though. She was good at reading people, usually, and thought it said... This woman knew something that they didn't. And it wasn't any kind of good something, at least not for them.
The plan settled then in her mind to take anything the woman wanted to pay, get rid of the thing, and then get out. She didn't care if she took a loss on the stupid statue. It wasn't worth dealing with this.
She looked at Belenus and nodded, hoping he understood from her look that this was the plan now. She also decided in that moment to never tease him about a bad feeling again; right then, she desperately wished that she had better listened to him.
He lifted the bag and pulled out the item, setting it on the table.
It wasn't anything impressive to look at, Andraste thought. She had thought it when they took it in trade back in the Borderlands, but this pair had taken an interest in it. Why?
The statue was no more than three hands high, made of a coarse grey stone and in the shape of a robed, hooded woman. The only clear details of her face were eyes glinting with small gems, but they were not valuable. Andraste has appraised that much already. They were pretty, but not worth much.
However, that was an opinion clearly not shared by the woman across from her. She looked at it with open greed and licked her slightly smiling lips.
"Good catch, Gandren," she said.
"What is it worth to you, then?" Andraste asked with forced bravado.
"A great deal," the woman said, "but you'll find I'm not the one paying the price." She nodded at the men, who were around the table quicker than she could even register the fact that they had moved at all.
The larger--Gandren--had Belenus out of his now overturned chair with a knife to his throat, and the other had Chandra by the hair. Her head was wrenched back at an angle painful to just look at, let alone to live through.
Something in the room suddenly...felt strange, but the merchant could not stop to give thought to it. She was on her feet in an instant, but was too terrified of them killing her lovers to make any move beyond that. She swung her head towards the woman in wild panic.
"Why are you doing this?!" she cried, feeling her heart stop beating in her chest and ice fill every vein.
"This object is very powerful, and I can't allow you to tell anyone that you've even seen it," the woman said without a trace of apology or remorse.
"That's ridiculous," Andraste began, but then forced herself to be calm and reach into that part of her that was the merchant woman. It was that odd serenity of her mind that allowed her to make such good trades. "Come now, you really don't want to do that..." she said, trying her winning smile.
She risked a glance at the men, who looked like they started to loosen their holds on her beloveds. The woman even looked tempted then stopped and laughed. "Nice try," she said and then smacked Andraste across the face...without touching her. Andraste gasped and lost control of that place inside her.
Her head lifted just in time to see the smaller man snap Chandra's neck, and Belenus' throat cut when he fought to get to her. The bodies were just tossed aside and the men came for her at the same time the woman held out a hand towards her, but...
It was the sort of soul-tearing, heart-rending, world-breaking scream that is almost fiction, nothing so raw being likely to be real.
That "place" in Andraste exploded, and she felt something flow through her in ways she'd never felt before. It filled her with something beautiful and terrible, tragic and sweet. She embraced it with all of her being, knowing on some deep, unconscious level that it was what would help her right the wrong that had taken place just moments ago.
The sort of wrong that could not be allowed to go unanswered.
Her hands flew to either side of her, dancing with no partner to music only her body could sense. She didn't know what she did, but there were these colors and...cords. Like the air around her had suddenly become a woven tapestry that she could pluck threads from and make new. She wove things together that she did not recognize, but just was called to.
Before she even knew it, truly knew it, the men were dead and the woman was shrieking at her. Andraste was blasted back off her feet, where she crashed hard into a wall and slid to the floor like a broken doll.
She was sure she was about to die, but at least she would joined Belenus and Chandra in the pattern. Perhaps they would be reborn together...
No. The woman lived.
Andraste struggled to her feet, but felt an invisible force pressing down on her.
"A little wilder wench," the woman said, stalking towards her. "I thought I sensed you try your stupid tricks on me. I should ri--"
Whatever she was going to do didn't happen.
The door to the room was blown clear off its hinges and two women stormed in. That feeling that had been permeating the room, inside Andraste and out, grew even deeper and the Kandori woman thought she might drown in it.
'Saldaean...' The thought inanely bounced around her head as she looked up at the two who had arrived. Their eyes were dead giveaways, especially to a Borderlander such as herself.
The power they exuded nearly choked her, but the invisible weight on her chest released as the horrible woman turned to face them. Andraste threw herself to her feet, ready to do...whatever she had done to those men to this last enemy, but before she had the chance, some sort of wall fell on her. Not a real wall, a physical presence, but a wall nonetheless. It didn't throw her down the way the other force had, but it was just as powerful. She almost clawed at it with her hands, even though it could not be seen.
"Stop, before you harm yourself," the younger woman said while the older one was facing off with the terrible one.
The older Saldaean didn't blink as she faced the woman. Andraste could see those threads being pulled together, but far more deftly than anything she had been able to do. The wicked one sent something flying, but the elder waved a hand between them and severed the cord. Then sent her own threads into the other, which sent her crumpling to the ground.
"You can almost smell the Black Ajah on them," the older one said.
With the murderers slain, Andraste flung herself at the bodies of her beloveds. The wall remained, but it did not hinder her movement.
"Child, you can do nothing for them," the elder said.
"You have to come with us," the younger added.
Andraste lifted Belenus' bloody body onto her lap. "I'm not going anywhere with you," she half-cried/half-screamed. These women did not seem to be her enemies, but if they tried to part her from Belenus and Chandra, that was what they would become. Andraste even began thinking of ways to end her own life. How could she be expected to go on?
There was a moment of silence as she wept over her husband's body, before turning to see where Chandra lay.
"We will see them given their final respects," the elder said.
She accepted their help, but everything passed in a haze. People from the town were called. The bodies of the others were disposed of. The true owners of the house, well, their corpses were found in the bedroom. The house had been appropriated, apparently, for the meeting.
The two Saldaean women took the stone object that the other woman had been so interested in. Andraste considered asking, but decided she didn't want to know.
The Kandori knew that there was no honor in suicide, only shame, and while her heart still thought of it, she would not shame her husband and lover by doing so in their names. She had to go home, then. She had to grieve, and try to find the will to take the steps into the future. It was beyond her at that moment how she would do it, but do it she must. For them.
"You have to come with us," the elder said, interrupting her reflections.
"I'm not going anywhere with you," Andraste snapped. "I have to go home. You should understand that."
The younger came up on her other side. "Roots run deep," she agreed, "but you are a channeler. You are a danger to yourself and others, and not likely to live long if you don't learn how to control it. You have to come to the Grey Tower and be trained."
"I don't care," she insisted. "I'm not going anywhere with you!"
Resolutely, she turned away from them and began to walk away. She would return to her wagon, which was in the temporary care of city officials, along with her horses.
She did not get very far.
The strange feeling and invisible force returned in an instant, with her feet frozen and arms trapped at her sides. She struggled against it, the fight becoming almost violent.
"It will do no good." The younger walked around to stand in front of her. "You are being held by a strong channeler, and one who knows what she's doing."
"Let me go!" Andraste shrieked, fighting like a wild cat in a net. She tried to flail, to kick, to punch, but...to no avail. She was held tight, and the older Saldaean didn't even look like it was an effort. That didn't stop her from fighting, however. It didn't stop the stream of epithets that poured from her mouth.
As they got their horses, even kind enough to take her things from the wagon though leaving her draft team, they left the city.
She still fought.
They reached a place far from the city boundaries.
She still screamed.
They opened what they called a "gateway" to this Grey Tower.
She still swore.
They brought her through it, and through its gates, and into its walls, and finally to an office of someone called the Mistress of Novices.
- Novice (6 January 2017)
- Accepted (13 March 2017)
- Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah (28 June 2017)